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Russian visa - US citizen or EU / dates

Russian visa - US citizen or EU / dates

Old Sep 3, 15, 11:57 pm
  #1  
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Russian visa - US citizen or EU / dates

Hello all,

I am slowly starting to plan a trip to Russia next summer, via train from Poland. I am currently in the process of becoming a US citizen with hopes of achieving that by around January/February.

That said, I am debating what should I do with the visa. As it stands, the costs of getting the Russian visa into a US passport are higher ($193 for visa+ILS fee vs $70 for visa+ILS fee as a EU citizen), but you get a 3 year multiple entry visa.

Now, I am at this point not certain if I will be travelling any more to Russia during the next 3 years, so that might not make a difference. However, there is one thing that does make a difference and I wanted to enquire about it. As a EU citizen, you get a 30 day max stay and dates are imprinted on the visa - so you basically are bound by the dates and travel plans can't really change. Is this different for US citizens, since the visa is 3 year multiple entry by default? I saw that you still have to fill out the dates of intended travel there on the application, but I am not sure if you are bound by those? Or can I just fill out that I'm going to be there say June 15 to June 25 but end up going in July? Any idea on this one? If that makes it flexible, then paying more as a US citizen as opposed to using a Polish passport might be worth the costs.
Barciur is offline  
Old Sep 4, 15, 1:40 am
  #2  
 
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Not sure how much help I will be but will pass along what little I know...

I am on a type of work visa (in Russia) and things might be different because mine is a not a tourist visa. Anyway, I have never been able to get anything more than a 90-day visa the first time applying for a visa. They have always given me a 90-day to start with and only after being in country with that will they give me a multi-entry visa.

Once you get your citizenship and your US passport I would use that to get your visa. I've seen customs agents give a lot more grief to people with other passports.
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Old Sep 4, 15, 4:56 am
  #3  
 
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You have not said the dates you are looking at going to Russia, but your immigration lawyer will usually tell you that international travel during the naturalization process should be avoided. Not forbidden, and not necessarily going to lead to a problem, but has been known to cause a problem from time to time especially when naturalization is through marriage.

As far as which passport to use for the Visa, just use the European one. Cheaper, less paperwork and no difference to the Russians. The normal rule is you must have a short visa (single entry or multi-entry 1yr or less) before they will give you a multi-year one. Your mileage on that statement will differ depending on embassy used, agency used, etc.

The Russian embassies tend to be very territorial, so make sure you apply to the proper one based on where you live. If you apply in the US and use an EU passport, then be sure and provide green card or other documentation showing you are legal resident of the US. Against, mileage may differ based on embassy and/or agency.

The train to Moscow from Poland requires you to get a Belarus transit visa also.
bankops is offline  
Old Sep 4, 15, 6:39 am
  #4  
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Thanks, bankops.

I will be looking at going in the summer, after I receive naturalization and a passport. As for this:

The normal rule is you must have a short visa (single entry or multi-entry 1yr or less) before they will give you a multi-year one
As far as I know, it has changed for US citizens.

I. In accordance with the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on the simplification of visa formalities for nationals of the Russian Federation and nationals of the United States of America effective September 9, 2012 the US citizens shall as a rule be issued multiple-entry business, private, humanitarian and tourist visas for a stay of no more than 6 months starting from the date of each entry that are valid for three years (36 months) from the date of issue of the visa.
Hence my dilemma
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Old Sep 4, 15, 6:49 am
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by Barciur View Post
As far as I know, it has changed for US citizens.
It has, and despite the political situation it still seems to work both ways pretty well - U.S. citizens usually get a 3-year Russsian visa and v.v.
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Old Sep 9, 15, 6:42 pm
  #6  
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I'm from the US and the first tourist visa I got is valid for three years, with a maximum stay of 180 days somehow.
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Old Oct 15, 15, 3:47 am
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by Barciur View Post
Hello all,

I am slowly starting to plan a trip to Russia next summer, via train from Poland. I am currently in the process of becoming a US citizen with hopes of achieving that by around January/February.

That said, I am debating what should I do with the visa. As it stands, the costs of getting the Russian visa into a US passport are higher ($193 for visa+ILS fee vs $70 for visa+ILS fee as a EU citizen), but you get a 3 year multiple entry visa.

Now, I am at this point not certain if I will be travelling any more to Russia during the next 3 years, so that might not make a difference. However, there is one thing that does make a difference and I wanted to enquire about it. As a EU citizen, you get a 30 day max stay and dates are imprinted on the visa - so you basically are bound by the dates and travel plans can't really change. Is this different for US citizens, since the visa is 3 year multiple entry by default? I saw that you still have to fill out the dates of intended travel there on the application, but I am not sure if you are bound by those? Or can I just fill out that I'm going to be there say June 15 to June 25 but end up going in July? Any idea on this one? If that makes it flexible, then paying more as a US citizen as opposed to using a Polish passport might be worth the costs.
Your choice essentially is between paying less but getting inflexible dates or paying more and getting full flexibility. It seems like despite more than twice the costs, you are leaning towards more flexibility. And this is exactly what you get with a 3 year multiple entry visa (hubby got it). You need to put some kind of dates for the first entry but you are not bound by those. Whether you go in June, July or next year July is irrelevant since your visa is going to be good between, say March 2016 and March 2019.

Another point to mention is although you might not be sure if you'll visit Russia again, three years is long enough time span that things might change. Aeroflot frequently runs amazing deals for transit passengers connecting between US/Western Europe to, say, Asia or other European destinations. You might end up taking advantage of it and if you find yourself with an 8-10 hour layover or even an overnighter, it becomes a no-brainer with a multiple entry visa. You could leave the airport to pop to the city center for a day. To me, such flexibility over a 3 year period is worth extra $120.
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Old Nov 27, 15, 12:02 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by fungirl View Post
You need to put some kind of dates for the first entry but you are not bound by those. Whether you go in June, July or next year July is irrelevant since your visa is going to be good between, say March 2016 and March 2019. 0.
Dates are very important. Last time the NY consulate issued my wife a visa that started exactly on the same date as our hotel reservation. What I put on the application was ignored.
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Old Nov 27, 15, 12:33 am
  #9  
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Will you be able to keep both Polish and USA citizenships?

You might want to compare the visa application forms for both nationalities. I know that about ten years ago, the questions asked of someone from France were much more intursive that what USA citizens were required to answer.
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Old Dec 1, 15, 5:54 pm
  #10  
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Yes, I will be. I think at the current price of the dollar and the ruble, it looks a no brainer to just go with the Polish one honestly. In my situation at least. With the Polish one, it costs €35 as opposed to $160 for the application and I can do it directly at the consulate/embassy rather than through ILS which saves money as well. Only annoying thing is the requirement of health insurance, but I need that for the Belarussian transit visa anyway (both US and Polish passport) so at this time it'll be required and I'll probably end up going with the EU passport for this purpose.
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